Wayne Bennett at Broncos Training. Pic Annette Dew
Wayne Bennett at Broncos Training. Pic Annette Dew

The club that should grab Bennett

WHERE to next for Benny? That's the question on everyone's lips after news that the Broncos have called full-time on Wayne Bennett's second coming at Red Hill.

Or at least it's the question on the lips of every other coach in the competition.

You think there won't be a few sleepless nights over next few months as football's version of the Domino Effect moves into top gear?

Bennett is contracted until the end of 2019 but as we all know, a contract in rugby league is about as binding as a pinky promise with two fingers crossed behind your back.

Wayne Bennett at Broncos Training. Pic Annette Dew
Wayne Bennett at Broncos Training. Pic Annette Dew

Bennett has made it clear that he has no intention of hanging up his clipboard at the end of next season and you can't help thinking that if the right offer comes along before then he won't be adverse to leaving early.

After all, why should he stick around at the Broncos knowing he is just fine-tuning the outstanding young players he has recruited so that another coach can take charge of them when all the hard work has been done?

Particularly when he knows that his next team will have to play against them.

Plus any club that wants to hire Bennett will want to get him as soon as they can. He's 68, there's no time to waste.

Which means that some unlucky coach is about to get a tap on the shoulder.

So who will it be?

Obviously not Craig Bellamy or Trent Robinson.

Anthony Seibold seems locked in, although there is a slight chance of a pre-season Souths-Broncos coach swap. Same with Paul Green at the Cowboys but Bennett is still dirty that what he thought was a done-deal with them fell over in 2009.

There's been plenty of talk about Bennett returning to the Dragons who he took to the title in 2010, but I'm not so sure.

For starters Mary McGregor got the side to within a point of the preliminary final and the Dragons don't have the money to be paying out contracts and giving Bennett the type of money he will be asking.

There is also the fact that Bennett has already had success at Kogarah. Will he want to go back and risk devaluing his legacy? He has just gone through a similar scenario at the Broncos and wouldn't be keen to do it again.

Penrith is an obvious starter with Gus Gould showing that rules don't apply when it comes to getting his way.

He wouldn't give a second thought to shafting Cameron Ciraldo if he wanted Bennett, but of course he still has his heart set on Ivan Cleary.

If that happens, as many think it will, it would open up a spot at Wests Tigers but again, would the Tigers have the coin? They're almost as broke as the Bulldogs and Sea Eagles.

One club that could afford Bennett and is ideally positioned to offer him everything he wants is the Parramatta Eels.

The more you think about it, the better the fit seems.

The Eels are coming off a few shocking years on and off the paddock.

They have turned their administrative issues around, are flush with cash through their massive leagues club and have the second largest junior nursery in the game.

On field, not so good. They just picked up the wooden spoon which means their coach Brad Arthur is on borrowed time.

The Eels have a bright future despite winning the wooden spoon in 2018. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
The Eels have a bright future despite winning the wooden spoon in 2018. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

Then there's Bennett's sense of history - or at least of making it anyway.

The Eels are one of only four clubs not to have won an premiership this century.

The fact that the club's first title was won in 1981 under the coaching of Bennett mentor Jack Gibson might just sweeten the deal.

But then again, Bennett doesn't always do the expected. Who, apart from Nathan Tinkler's accountant, thought he would end up at Newcastle in 2012?

So here's one from the field to the left of left field: Bennett to take the Wallabies to the Rugby World Cup.

Well why not? They couldn't do any worse than they are now.



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